Liked Arkham Asylum? Want more of that? Here it is!
Arkham Asylum was a game I feel like had a lot going against it.
I mean it's a licenced game based on a comic book. The vast majority of which are might crappy.
I don't think anyone went into the game expecting it to be anything other than mediocre at best, but against all odds it wound up being one of the best games of 2009.
In the time since Asylum you'd have hoped other comic book game developers would've looked at that game and seen the benefit of actually putting effort into your licenced game but alas that hasn't really been the case. Some have tried to emulate it, but no ones succeeded in being as good as it was.
That probably works in favor of Arkham City though, as there hasn't been another game quite like Arkham Asylum until now. And this is a lot like Arkham Asylum.
The free flowing combat system is as fun as it ever was and about my only complaint about it would be that when going for double or triple counters the game will often not register one of the dudes you're fighting as "countered" and he'll whack you, knocking you out of the counter animation.
It kind of sucks that the easiest solution to this problem is to just not perform counters on more than one dude at a time, because combating multiple foes is part of the appeal of the system. Alas I feel like more often than not going for the multiple counter will end bad for you, so you're better off just evading the attack rather than countering it.
I don't recall this being in Arkham Asylum, but there's quick button presses for utilizing Batmans various gadgets in the middle of combat which is a nice addition though I feel like there's only a couple of tools that are really helpful in combat.
The rest of them are pretty handy for getting those damned Riddler trophies, of which there are a lot. I got ALL of The Riddler stuff in Arkham Asylum. I generally loathe collectibles, especially collectibles on a large scale - but the stuff in Arkham Asylum was actually FUN to do. Sadly I don't think the same can be said for Arkham City. There are simply TOO many of them.
At least they're easy enough to find. You can't walk five feet without seeing something Riddler related and soon enough in the game you'll be able to beat up Riddler Informants, which are kind of this games equivalent to The Riddlers secret maps in Arkham Asylum. You'll beat up his friends, then interrogate the informant - which will reveal some of Riddlers various collectibles on the map.
The game is open world and so you've got expanded glide, grappling and dive abilities to use which make traversal pretty damned fun. Arkham City itself is basically a hub though. Story missions generally take place in specific buildings which you'll need to make your way to and inside these buildings it's basically more Arkham Asylum. You'll make your way through the building, punch some dudes, solve a puzzle, get into a room which forces you to play it stealthily, maybe do a boss fight and them boom! You're out! It leaves the outside Arkham City for the side stuff.
And there's a decent amount of side stuff here.
I might even be inclined to say that there's more side stuff than main story stuff.
Despite being open world and taking place in a larger environment, it didn't take me too long to beat the campaign. Maybe somewhere between 10-15 hours. Which I guess isn't bad.
I'm sure I'll at least double that in trying to do all The Riddlers stuff and the other various side missions.
Riddlers collectibles aside I feel like the side missions are pretty well done and interesting. They're a good way to give some of Batmans lesser known, lesser cared about villains some screen time. If they'd made Deadshot a primary antagonist I'd have been a bit put off, but as someone who you see for like 2-3 minutes after you've solved his murders, well it makes for a neat cameo.
If you've beaten the story, done all the side stuff but still want more Batman then the challenge rooms make a return. You'll have your combat challenges for just punching guys and predator challenges for stalking them. There are campaigns which string these challenges together, should you feel so inclined.
Arkham Asylum was one of my favorite games of 2009 and no sooner was I done with it then I decided that I wanted more of it. If you felt the same then do give Arkham City a look, because this is that and that's no bad thing!